Avoca Beach history captured on canvas

Michael Rubbo’s art display at Avoca Beach - Avoca Impressions

Documentary artist, Michael Rubbo, has captured 20 years of Avoca Beach history through his paintings, now on display at Avoca Beach.

The paintings include snapshots of times, places, and events which have occurred during the time he has lived at the beachside suburb.

Avoca Impressions will be open to the public free for the rest of December.

Rubbo said each of the around 70 pieces seizes memories of a period of time, that if not documented, might have been lost.

“I moved here because of the Avoca theatre, and I loved the theatre,” Rubbo said.

“I (wondered if it could) survive, and do people really value it?

“Being a documentary artist, I thought if I painted it in all its manifestations, maybe then they would value it.

“I remembered the story of the French painter, Claude Monet, who painted poplar trees and apparently saved them by doing the painting.

“So, I thought, maybe people would see the area through new eyes in paintings.

“The display is a documentation of life in the village, with most of (the paintings) being done in the early 2000s.”

Rubbo said at one point an old farmhouse on Ridgeway Road was going to be pulled down.

“I came to it at the point when they were going to demolish it, so I did the painting, and that had an impact – they did not tear it down,” he said.

“That is a lovely story on how paintings can have an impact.”

With the display being only temporary, he said he is open to people offering a space where the exhibition can be viewed year-round.

“The style is sort of fresh and impressionistic, which is why I call it Avoca Impressions,” he said.

“If someone came along and said I have the perfect place to house this, I would give them the whole collection.

“My grandfather, who was a famous teacher and artist called Antonio Dattilo-Rubbo, gave about the same number of paintings to the Manly Art Gallery and Museum

“It didn’t exist then, so that was the creation of the gallery.

“I am really happy to show this to Avoca for the first time.

“I hope other towns like Copacabana say, ‘hey we should paint our town too’.

“Let’s celebrate our village, nature, the houses we live, the old houses that could be pulled down tomorrow, and catch them before they go.”

The exhibition is open all of December at the Christian Meditation Centre, located next to the Post Office.

Jacinta Counihan